Welcome to our POA/ An Initial Discovery!

My Phase 2 group and I have devised a POA (pronounced poh-ah), this is our Plan of Attack! If you read my most recent post, you know that I had a few concerns about what exactly to analyze in Act One of Hamlet.  After a couple productive group meetings I am feeling good. Ladies and Gentlemen – our POA has been determined.  Ready? Character Development! We decided to tackle this aspect of the play because as Act One analysts, we get to delve into who the characters are presented as in the beginning. Taking this piece of knowledge, we can then compare it to the characters throughout/at the end of the play.  We want to know if the personalities portrayed in the first act of hamlet are a truthful reflection of the characters throughout the play. If not, does something significant happen to change them? What was Shakespeare trying to prove by withholding particular traits of particular characters while exposing others completely? This is exactly what we hope to discover. This is step one of our POA.

To subdivide the extensive research involved in character development, we decided to pick the five characters, or in some cases pairs of characters, we felt serve the most significant roles in the play.  After individually selecting characters to examine in our own expert tools, we are now ready to roll up our sleeves and uncover the dirt (look out Waldo, I am on to you!)

I will be analyzing Horatio, Kate will be analyzing the King and Queen, Ruby has Hamlet (Glare), Amy is looking after Ophellia and Laertes and finally Dayna has The Ghost! With our assigned characters, we are each planning to discover as much as possible under the umbrella of character development in specific regards to Act One.

Although I am still in the preliminary stages of my Horatio-development-act one research, I have already uncovered something pretty cool! So if you just go into your basic search on Wordseer, and type in “horatio” all by itself, when the search results are found, a box will appear at the top of the page with the most commonly used words while referring to your searched word (in my case “Horatio”)


Neat - O


This is really cool because I view Horatio as the level-headed and perhaps the only sane characters in the entire play. This makes it interesting to see the results. If you look at the screen shot, you will see the results reflect my interpretations of Horatio pretty well.  With words such as “good”, “Heaven”, “see” and “Lord” listed it is hard to not think about the end of the play. How does it all turn out? Well, in a nut shell, he is alive and pretty much everyone else…is not.  Is this coincidence? Or is this something a little amazing that has been delivered through digital humanities. Maybe it’s a little of both.

Another interesting point I found was in the word “overlooked” provided by the list in the above screen shot.  I think this is a little crazy and pretty darn cool…Horatio and overlooked. Are you seeing the connection?! The fact that Horatio is really only in the first and final Acts of the play AND is what we can call “the last guy standing” is a fair observation. Keeping this in mind, the fact that “overlooked” is so common while searching his name is knock-your-socks-off incredible/interesting/awesome! This is shocking because in the play Horatio really is overlooked. WOW.

This is only a peek into the information I know wordseer is holding and I can’t wait to run Horatio/act one through the rest of the functions available with this tool. This is a pretty incredible/exciting way of analyzing. Still not convinced? Think of the first time you read Hamlet, did you know Horatio would be “the last guy standing”? Probably not…but Wordseer did.

3 thoughts on “Welcome to our POA/ An Initial Discovery!

  1. Sorry Richelle, but I think, in this case, that WordSeer is getting too much credit.

    Yes, overlooked does occur once in relation to Horatio (just once), but if you actually look at that sentence (you can get there by clicking on the bar for ‘overlooked’ in the bar graph) you’ll see the mistake.

    “Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked this, give these fellows some means to the king.”

    Here, Shakespeare must be using a now-archaic sense of “overlooked”. It seems to mean what we’d call “oversee” or “supervise”.

    So — and this is lesson 1 digital humanities text analysis — always look at the source data before getting excited.

    • I think “overlooked” in this sentence means “looked over,” as in “reviewed” or “read.” Very apt!

    • Thanks for the reply Aditi! It seems as though I did jump to conclusions and get excited a bit too early – admittedly I did not check the line(s)/sources. This is something I will pay closer attention in the future!!!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *